The truest, best love had nothing to do with luck. Luck was faithless, and worth little. True love wasn’t fancy and it wasn’t magical, but simply true in every sense: honest, loyal and sure.
~~ Sonja Yoerg, All the Best People
An intricately crafted story of madness, magic and misfortune across three generations from the author of The Middle of Somewhere and House Broken…
Vermont, 1972. Carole LaPorte has a satisfying, ordinary life. She cares for her children, balances the books for the family’s auto shop and laughs when her husband slow dances her across the kitchen floor. Her tragic childhood might have happened to someone else.
But now her mind is playing tricks on her. The accounts won’t reconcile and the murmuring she hears isn’t the television. She ought to seek help, but she’s terrified of being locked away in a mental hospital like her mother, Solange. So Carole hides her symptoms, withdraws from her family and unwittingly sets her eleven-year-old daughter Alison on a desperate search for meaning and power: in Tarot cards, in omens from a nearby river and in a mysterious blue glass box belonging to her grandmother.
An exploration of the power of courage and love to overcome a damning legacy, All the Best People celebrates the search for identity and grace in the most ordinary lives.
All the Best People by Sonja Yoerg
Published by Berkley Books (May 2, 2017)
Genre: Fiction/Adult Fiction/Women’s Fiction/Mental Health
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Format: Kindle, 368 pages
FCC Disclosure: Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing a copy of this book.
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Review of All the Best People
In her new novel, All the Best People, Sonja Yoerg chose to give her readers three narrators: Solange, Carole, and Allison. Among the three women, they share their family’s story of mental illness, poverty, heartbreak, and attempts to understand the impact of these various conditions on their lives.
Two mother-daughter relationships exist among these three women. Solange and Carole are one mother and daughter pair, and Carole and Allison are the second. Carole watched her mother sink into mental illness to the extent of confinement in an institution. The fear of the same thing happening to her keeps Carole in an anxious state of mind.
Young Allison watches as her mother begins to display changing traits and behaviors. She suspiciously wonders if her mother is following in Solange’s footsteps, but doesn’t always feel free to ask questions.
With her impeccable writing style, Sonja Yoerg tackles the subject of mental illness and its impact on an entire family over a period from the 1930s to the 1970s. Each of the narrators tells her story with clarity and emotion, and I began to feel if they were friends with whom I wanted to converse over coffee. Yoerg’s character development is at its best in All the Best People.
At its core, All the Best People is really about mental illness and its impact on the people it touches. Yoerg handles the topic well including the 1930s movement, eugenics. Despite improvements in the mental health field, those afflicted still fear stigmatization and often feel they must cover up their symptoms. Yoerg’s storyline is strong and powerful.
If you are looking for a well-written, fast-paced read, filled with life-like characters, pick up a copy of All the Best People. Personally I don’t think you’ll regret spending time with this book.
Meet Sonja Yoerg
I grew up in Stowe, Vermont, the daughter of a ski instructor. In my first incarnation, I was a animal behaviorist who studied learning in blue jays, hyenas and kangaroo rats. I wrote a book about that. Now I make stuff up.
My novels (HOUSE BROKEN and MIDDLE OF SOMEWHERE) were published in 2015 by Penguin. My third, ALL THE BEST PEOPLE was released in May 2017. I’m very excited about it, but then again, I get excited about a lot of things.
When I’m not writing or pretending to be writing, I run, garden, cook, eat, drink wine, then run some more. My husband and I live in central Virginia with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains. It’s quiet and pretty, like Vermont.